The Worcester Sharks ragtag lineup once again had issues putting the puck in the net, only in Sunday’s matinee against the Portland Pirates it was due more to the opposing netminder than an ability to generate any offense. But in spite of a great goaltending performance from Harri Sateri the result was still the same as the WorSharks dropped a 3-1 contest at the DCU Center in front of 4,728 fans.
Brodie Reid had the only goal for Worcester, tipping home a nice centering feed from former Holy Cross standout and San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Rissmiller that knotted the game 1-1 in the middle of the second period. Sandwiched around that goal were tallies by Pirates regulars Brett Hextall and Chris Conner. Jordan Szwarz added an empty netter in the last minute of play for the 3-1 final.
Despite losing the game Sateri’s 38 save performance might rank up there as one of the best efforts by a hometown goaltender in the DCU Center as the defense in front of him was, to be kind, very poor. The Pirates could have easily scored seven, eight, maybe nine goals had Sateri not been absolutely on top of his game. Portland’s goaltender, Chad Johnson, was also outstanding and while not very busy in the first half of the game was certainly his normal WorSharks-killing self in the later portions when he needed to be.
Officially Worcester had a long line of healthy scratches, although in reality every healthy scratch was either in San Jose or on their way to the left coast. The only new name to that list is Brandon Mashinter, and he was replaced in the line-up by another addition to the long list of try-out players, Andy Bohmbach from the Trenton Devils (ECHL). Alex Stalock was the back-up goaltender.
This season this writer has complained far too much about the officiating in the American Hockey League, and after Sunday’s second period is about to do it again. Every fan thinks they’re a better referee than the guy on the ice when it comes to calling penalties, but it’s a major issue when the people sitting in the seats have a better idea as to what the number of skaters should be for each team than the referee has. During the second period referee Geoff Miller called four minors in less than a minute which resulted in the rare situation of three skaters a side. Miller then called a fifth minor on Worcester, and was about to give Portland a four skater on three power play. Referee Miller had to be recalled to the scorer’s table to be informed that the teams should still be skating with three players a side, and after a long discussion finally got the right number of skaters for each side. To be blunt, it’s embarrassing that a referee this high in the professional ranks didn’t get that right.
Also in the second period was a video replay involving the goal scored by Chris Conner. It looked like a good goal live, so much so it never even entered my mind it would be reviewed. But it was, and after what seemed to be an hour of watching referee Miller watch the video he eventually ruled it a good goal. My perch is in direct line with the video goal monitor. It took one playing of the video at regular speed to know you couldn’t see the puck (it’s hidden under Sateri) when the net came off the peg. But referee Miller watched it for a very long time at varying speeds before making his ruling.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 35 Harri Sateri (38 saves)
2. POR – 14 Chris Conner (gwg)
3. POR – 24 Brett Hextall (g)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Brodie Reid.
Portland 1 1 1 – 3
Worcester 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Portland, Hextall 6 (Sinkewich, Klinkhammer), 17:24. Penalties-Gormley Por (tripping), 3:50; Summers Por (interference), 6:39; Reid Wor (hooking), 9:29; Urban Wor (interference), 12:45.
2nd Period-2, Worcester, Reid 8 (Rissmiller, Gourde), 12:58. 3, Portland, Conner 7 (Brophey), 15:19. Penalties-Brophey Por (slashing), 0:36; Rechlicz Por (fighting), 13:00; Bonneau Wor (fighting), 13:00; Werek Por (roughing), 13:33; Gogol Wor (roughing), 13:33; Banwell Wor (tripping), 14:00; Klinkhammer Por (holding), 14:24; Wilson Wor (tripping), 14:58; Rechlicz Por (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:21.
3rd Period-4, Portland, Szwarz 6 (Klinkhammer), 19:31 (EN). Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Portland 16-14-11-41. Worcester 3-8-16-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 0 / 3; Worcester 0 / 4.
Goalies-Portland, Johnson 13-7-0 (27 shots-26 saves). Worcester, Sateri 7-8-1 (40 shots-38 saves).
Referees-Geoff Miller (28).
Linesmen-Chris Aughe (74), Todd Whittemore (70).